By on December 12, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.

When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.

The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles.

Meanwhile, the model everyone compares it with — Tesla’s Model S — can be purchased with a maximum range between 348 and 373 miles. We suspected Porsche would have trouble matching Tesla’s range, as the American manufacturer has been hammering away at battery tech for far longer, but the disparity is larger than we bargained for.

That may also be true for Porsche. The automaker has commissioned an “independent study” from AMCI Testing to assess the model’s range. Unsurprisingly, it reported a maximum range of 275 miles for the Taycan Turbo in normal mode under the highway conditions. Swapping that to ranged mode and keeping it inside the city upped the figure to an alleged 288 miles.

Despite AMCI seeing improved numbers vs the EPA assessment, Porsche still has to use the latter when trying to sell the vehicle to U.S. customers. That’s bad news, as 201 miles means the $151,000 Taycan Turbo has a smaller operating radius than the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi e-tron, and anything sold by Tesla Motors.

It almost seems like a mistake, considering the Taycan uses a rather sizable 93.4 kWh battery pack, yet Porsche has already said that it accepts the EPA’s assessment. It just wants everyone to know that other tests have shown the model performing better.

We don’t expect this to impact sales in the short term. The Taycan is fresh and hip, meaning there’ll be a glut of people who’ll want to scoop it up as an super-cool conversation piece. Over a longer timeline, that 201 miles range is bound to turn some people off, however. Range anxiety is still a factor in EV sales and, while it may not hurt a model many wealthy people will only use as a second or third vehicle, those who wanted the Taycan as a daily runabout may bolt over to Tesla.

With Volkswagen Group bent on electrification, Porsche will undoubtedly continue massaging the Taycan to improve its overall range. In the meantime, the model may have to rest on its performance chops — which most claim are definitely up to Porsche standards. It also uses an 800-volt system that allows for faster charging than most present-day EVs, further softening the range blow. Thus far, we only have calculations for the Turbo variant. We’ll see how the Taycan Turbo S stacks up once the EPA finishes its testing.

Image: Porsche AG

[Images: Porsche]

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48 Comments on “Bad Omen: Porsche Not So Happy With Abysmal EPA Assessment for Taycan...”


  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Turbo.

    WHAT DOES THAT WORD MEAN, PORSCHE?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    EPA tests have proven to be by far the most accurate of any regulator’s. 201 miles out of 93 kWh really is pretty atrocious. Even with all this weight and power, that much battery really ought to reach at least 230 miles. I wonder what the issue is that’s causing such poor efficiency?

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      If Porsche is using performance tires and alignment settings chosen for stability instead of low rolling resistance, that could make for a meaningful percentage of the difference.

      • 0 avatar
        Mnemic

        That’ll be the next thing added via the track mode button, a track alignment. The camaro SS 1LE’s come with track alignment setting specs in the glovebox, if you so desire. I know they chew tires up.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Didn’t Consumer Reports once say that the Bolt was the first EV with which they’d actually experienced a 200 mile range, regardless of what various Teslas have claimed?

    Is the EPA actually testing vehicles now? I thought they just validated the self-certifications of a sample of manufacturer ‘results.’

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      They are. EPA said the Model S Long Range has a range of 373 miles in April.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        According to EPA, they test all new EVs at their lab in Ann Arbor Michigan. Their procedures and the environmental conditions surrounding them are public knowledge, which is probably why C/D, which hangs out nearby, said about these EPA results for the Taycan turbo and Porsche’s hiring of an independent tester in a fit of pique: “What’s curious is that Porsche says that these EPA numbers are merely confirmation of the numbers that the automaker itself submitted to the agency, as is typical practice.”

  • avatar
    theBrandler

    I’m fairly certain the problem stems from how EPA test EVs. Every other EV tested by it has regenerative braking that engages automatically when one lifts off the go pedal (can we still call it the gas pedal? ). But Porsche does not. That would most likely be the difference. Some aspect of the evaluation by the EPA either intentionally or accidentally has been using this auto regen to get the stated numbers and since the Porsche only regens when you actually step on the brake, their EPA numbers end up being terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      So it sounds like you’re saying that running auto-regen increases effective range over free-wheeling. I wonder why Porsche didn’t figure that out?

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Just call it an accelerator

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The Taycan has a drive mode setting for regen braking. In its default mode its off so the decel and brakes feel more like a normal car. I assume Porsche would have made sure it was tested in max range mode which has more aggressive regen. The car has 5 drive modes so maybe there was a mix up?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Regen is half the recipe to achieving range; otherwise your energy is lost through brake rotor heat. It’s foolish not to use it.

      As for driveability, regen is wonderful. It’s like having a free downshift or two on every hill, and on long hills you can even see the battery refilling.

      It’s curious that Chevy touts the benefits of their ‘one-pedal’ drive mode in the Bolt, but Porsche avoids it.

      • 0 avatar
        needsdecaf

        The Taycan absolutely uses regen. In fact, it has a regen capability of up to 265 kW, which is about 3 times what a Tesla can do. Porsche just doesn’t use regen from the accelerator, they tie it all into the brake pedal. Their reasoning, right or wrong, is based on several points. 1. It’s a more conventional / classic driving feel. 2. They feel it’s more efficient to have the car coast off throttle. 3. By having a blended brake pedal, any loss in regen due to cold battery or topped off battery can be handled by the computer which will increase friction braking. Thus the braking behavior shouldn’t change to the driver.

        That’s the theory anyway. #2 obviously has a giant hole in that theory of working with the test cycle. And #3, according to some test drives, sounds like they still need to work on the transparency of the system. Although some testers have mentioned specifically that they can’t tell at all, and some have said it’s a very abrupt transition.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…there’ll be a glut of people who’ll want to scoop it up as an super-cool conversation piece”

    A small glut.

    You guys *still* don’t get it. You believe people buy EVs (and especially Teslas) because they want to virtue signal or because they have money to throw away.

    The main reason Tesla is the EV leader (and is outselling many common brands) is that they build a better car. EV drivers expect their vehicles to have utility, which varies by driver. I’m happy enough with an Ioniq for now, but for $80-150k, there’s no way I’d go for a Porsche with a nice interior and only a 201-mile range.

    This terrible efficiency is similar to the Audi e-tron, which makes me wonder what’s wrong with VAG’s EV technology.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      ” makes me wonder what’s wrong with VAG’s EV technology.”

      Tesla has Halbach array motors. Porsche, as far as I know, does not.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        It’s stunning to me that an ‘established’ mfr like VW-Porche-Audi would spend billions to develop such uncompetitive vehicles.

        The Taycan has a certain appeal, but such range reports make them look like amateurs, or worse, insincere. They don’t have to beat Tesla’s range, but 300 miles would at least be ballpark-competitive. This isn’t even close.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Remember, I was all excited about the Taycan and wanted to buy one. So many negatives like a crappy charging network, this range issue, and the price climbing quickly over the $200k mark. Even it’s weight over the Model 3. Add in the ADM and I’ve got my limits. The 3 is common on the roads where I live and there are now two close 3rd party shops that specialize in EVs.

          Also, Audi owners have been having charging network issue:

          https://insideevs.com/news/387598/audi-e-tron-charging-concerns/

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          Maybe the range is comfortable because as

          Some wit once told me:

          “To Americans 200 years is a long time and to Europeans 200 miles is a long distance”.

          Perhaps that explains why the reported range of 201 miles does not concern them.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @volvo: Range for an economy EV vs. range for a 6 figure performance EV are sort of different. With an economy EV, you probably aren’t pushing it hard and 200 is really fantastic useable range and you might exceeed that range often. With a performance EV, you’ll to be pushing it towards its limits more often so that 200 very quickly becomes much less. In other words, performance EVs need more range because of the higher power consumption when pushed hard.

            A prime example is the youtube video of a Taycan chasing a Model S on the Autobahn. It was barely keeping up until, boom, the low charge warning popped up so the Taycan exited for more juice while the S just rocketed away into the distance.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @mcs

            I can assure you that EV owners in Germany do not drive like that. They can usually found behind trucks on the slow lane cruising at 80 kph (50 mph) attempting to get as much range out of their car as possible.

            Tests on the Autobahn have shown that EVs drastically lose range when pushed over 130 kph, they simply drain their batteries faster and are incapable of sustained high speed driving. An occasional speed spurt is possible and short duration 200 kph+ jumps can be experienced, but for the most part the few EVs I see on the Autobahn are all on the slow lane.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            @ThomasSchiffer,

            I have seen what you’re talking about. I used to have a commute on the I15 in southern California, where traffic moves. Traffic would be rolling along at 80 to 95 mph between San Diego and Riverside, except for the Tesla Model Ss, which were glued to the right two lanes and the speed limit. It was funny because generally people who can afford to take care of Californistan’s green fascism are in a big hurry. Years ago, the fastest cars on the road were often Priuses and Civic Hybrids with HOV access stickers all over their back bumpers. The early-adopters were incentivized with the right to clog up the car-pool lanes without passengers in addition to the tax breaks, and so many hybrids were in the hands of the 95 mph commuters. Oh well. At least Teslas can achieve merging speed on California’s idiotic metered entrance ramps.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @ToddF1,

            The Autobahn in general has this mythical reputation of a highway with no speed limits on which everyone ist driving at their cars top possible speed. The reality is that about 60% of Autobahn have an enforced 120-130 kph speed limit.

            Even vehicles with an internal combustion engine will for the most part not speed. The majority of drivers will stick to the speed limits, and on sections with no speed limit will stick to a recommended speed limit of 110-130 kph.

            Fuel is very expensive, speeding costs money, so therefore most drivers attempt to drive as economically as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            It’s so sad. Reunification has ruined everything. When I lived in Europe 35 years ago, the West German autobahns were things of beauty. The right lane had trucks and VW vans going maybe 90 kph, the center lane ran 130 kph, and the left lane was for cars running at least 160 kph, often 200 kph. Lane discipline was absolute. The East Germans who live in government would have probably slapped the lowest limit in Europe on the autobahn by now if not for the marketing value it has for German cars abroad to say they were developed to run flat out.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “It’s stunning to me that an ‘established’ mfr like VW-Porche-Audi would spend billions to develop such uncompetitive vehicles.”

          I’ll say that I am extremely not at all surprised by this.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        @mcs

        Does Tesla have some IP locked up re Halbach arrays? The technique has been around for a long time.

        There’s an interesting article in the link below proposing their use for maglev trains. Scientific American also published a similar article on the subject but it’s behind a paywall.

        https://www.eurekalert.org/features/doe/2004-11/ddoe-mlt111104.php

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Porsche really phoned it in with the Taycan EV for sure. A $151000 price tag and a relatively low range will pretty much hand sales over to Tesla for everyone except the wealthy Porsche-philes occupying oceanfront real estate on the West Coast.

      Tesla also develops their own battery technology and has patents through the nose for battery construction. VAG may be sourcing batteries from LG Chem or another supplier that does not have access to Telsa technology.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So is Musk already tweeting about this? I can see that.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’d be surprised if they sell enough of these to recoup their development costs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I personally don’t see that happening, unless they are sold for multiple model years with cheap refreshes.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The platform is being used for multiple vehicles. They should get ther money back, but you never know.

    • 0 avatar
      needsdecaf

      A few things.

      1. The platform will also underpin the Audi eTron GT
      2. The car is hella expensive for what it is. Shouldn’t be that much of a cash loser. The car will sell, just not be mass uptake.
      3. The replacement for the Boxster / Cayman will be all electric and, this is the most important thing, so will the Macan. The Macan is their volume seller by far. Given that it’s a tarted up last gen Audi Q5, they are seeing massive profits on that vehicle. By introducing their electric tech with huge performance and on a low volume vehicle with a high price point, Porsche can learn their lesson for their volume sports car and volume SUV and hit that target true.

  • avatar

    Continue Russian language lessons. In Russian Porschen’ (Поршень) means “piston”. ICE is the essence of Porsche brand. For me Porsche does not associate with EVs, not i bit.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    The bright side is they won’t be able to tailgate you for very long at least.

  • avatar
    tedward

    mis-posted this to the mini article

    Look, AMCI undoubtedly did achieve the mileage that Porsche is touting here, but lets be realistic about what they do. Their role is specifically to provide testing data that’s of use to the manufacturer for advertising and training purposes. Think cheesy sales training videos or alternate talking points for efficiency claims (like this one). I don’t think they could be paid to lie outright, but they are certainly being paid to find a way to present their findings in a useful manner.
    If a study like that claims an interesting fact it should probably be presented with a very specific notation about this. It may be that there is a very interesting story there and the brand is correct, but I would never take that at face value without a lot of secondary sourcing

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